Most Indispensable Badger - No.7

With the college football season just around the corner, BadgerNation brings back its list of the 20 most important players to the Badgers' success in the 2015 season. After struggling at quarterback, senior Tanner McEvoy is remaking himself as a two-way player who could deliver a big impact this season.

With plenty of position changes in his time at Wisconsin, Tanner McEvoy appears to have found his niche with the Badgers. After struggling mightily at quarterback last season, McEvoy will finally be able to have a season playing a position that fits his game. Having played 12 games at safety over his two seasons in Madison, including making a considerable impact in Wisconsin’s win over Auburn in the Outback Bowl, McEvoy will likely be one of the UW’s starting safeties – next to senior Michael Caputo – and can even contribute on offense at wide receiver.

Strengths: McEvoy is incredibly athlete, especially for the size and build that he possesses at 6-6 and 229 pounds. Those are some impressive physical stats, especially when combined with the fact that his quickness and agility – thanks to his quarterback background - makes him a rare commodity around the Big Ten. Even more unique is that McEvoy proved during the spring that he can also use his long frame at receiver, showing his athleticism by coming up with some impressive catches over undersized cornerbacks. Look for McEvoy to utilize his athleticism play in and play out.

Weaknesses: McEvoy’s biggest setback is his experience at both safety and receiver, as he hasn’t played either position since he was a junior in high school. McEvoy has mostly relied on his pure athletic ability at safety, playing with only a sliver of the technique and awareness as UW’s season vets. He’s put a lot of time in during the spring to meet with receivers coach Ted Gilmore and defensive back coach Daronte Jones to learn the finer points of each position and absorb as much as he could during practices, so it’ll be interesting to see how he responds.

Why he is #7: McEvoy was a liability at quarterback last season but has turned himself into a huge potential asset. Instead of fighting for redemption at quarterback, McEvoy embraced the change and now provides the defense with a tall, quick presence that can run down opposing skill players. He also possesses the same ability on offense where he could contribute to the pass game or even the run game if necessary.

Overall: Entering his third year in the program, McEvoy is primed to make a positive impact and wash the bad taste he left in his mouth with his performance last season. McEvoy has plenty of potential to be the next big thing in Wisconsin’s backfield; it is just a matter of “if” he can use his ability to his advantage. The coaching staff and fans have plenty of visions of what he can all do to help the Badgers win the Big Ten West, but only McEvoy knows what he can truly do.


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